I am delighted to host a guest post from author, blogger, and cake-maker extraordinaire, Roberta Cheadle. This is an interesting historical account, connected to the same time period as her latest novel.
Roberta Eaton Cheadle is a South African writer and poet specialising in historical, paranormal, and horror novels and short stories. She is an avid reader in these genres and her writing has been influenced by famous authors including Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe, Amor Towles, Stephen Crane, Enrich Maria Remarque, George Orwell, Stephen King, and Colleen McCullough.
Roberta has short stories and poems in several anthologies and has 2 published novels, Through the Nethergate, a historical supernatural fantasy, and A Ghost and His Gold, a historical paranormal novel set in South Africa.
Roberta has 9 children’s books published under the name Robbie Cheadle.
Roberta was educated at the University of South Africa where she achieved a Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1996 and a Honours Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1997. She was admitted as a member of The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants in 2000.
Roberta has worked in corporate finance from 2001 until the present date and has written 7 publications relating to investing in Africa. She has won several awards over her 20-year career in the category of Transactional Support Services.
The story of Jurgens Nieman (10 December 1898 – 27 July 1900)
During the second phase of the Second Anglo Boer War, hundreds of Boer women fled into the veld to evade the British forces. The took their children, trusted native African workers and some livestock with them. This was an attempt to escape capture and imprisonment in concentration camps.
Jurgen’s Albertus Nieman was born on the 10th of December 1989, the son of a Boer scout also named Jurgens Albertus Nieman who was never wounded or captured throughout the war. Jurgens Senior and his 14-year-old son Jacobus Johannes fled the siege at Paardeberg under General Cronje on a young horse which had neither a saddle nor a bridle.
Jurgens’ Senior’s wife, Anna Elizabeth, had been left on their farm. When the British troops neared their home, she fled with her four young children in a horse-drawn cart, together with a small flock of sheep and a single trusted native African herdsman.
On the 26th of July 1900, Anna Elizabeth and her children were caught. The British soldiers loaded them into an open ox-wagon to be transported to the Klerksdorp Concentration Camp. During the day, other families were captured and joined the wagon train.
The following morning, Anna Elizabeth and the children walked over to another ox-wagon to meet a new family. Jurgens suddenly began to fidget and fuss. When his mother picked him up to comfort him, blood trickled onto her hands from a head wound.
On inspection, she found that her son had been shot in the head. English fire was taking place in the distance, and Jurgens was struck by a stray bullet. The baby died that evening and was buried in a shallow grave at the side of the road. A plank detailing his name and other details was planted at the site of the grave.
Fourteen days later, his father passed the grave. He found his son’s body almost perfectly preserved due to the cold weather. He took the casket with him and re-buried it at Rustfontein farm.
This is the bonnet that Jurgens Nieman was wearing when he was shot. The bloodstains are still visible. At this time, baby boys were often dressed in bonnets and dresses.
A Ghost and His Gold, a paranormal historical novel partially set during the Second Anglo Boer War, written by Roberta Eaton Cheadle describes similar tragic deaths of young children.
This is a short extract:
“A few moments later, Annette Smit enters the tent with her children, who’ve been waiting patiently for her outside the tent. She lies the dead body of her baby down on a blanket. Dropping into a seated position on the hard ground, she sits, rocking herself to and fro, and keening softly.
Her worn and seemingly bloodless body is that of an old woman and the large eyes in her white face are wild and haunted. The death of her infant on top of the recent losses of her oldest son and toddler seem to have broken something deep within her mind. It is frightening to watch.
Hatred for the camp supervisor who denied the baby a few drops of brandy constricts Estelle’s throat. The baby is dead. She’ll never take her first steps, laugh and play with her older brothers and sisters or go to school. The camp supervisor did nothing to try and save her. In Estelle’s mind, he is a murderer. Taking deep breaths, Estelle attempts to unwind the knot of anger in her stomach
Marta looks at Annette, her eyes are sympathetic. “It’s better that the baby died,” she says. “She’s now at peace with our Father.”
Tannie [Aunt] Sannie’s eyes flash anger. “The camp supervisor could have tried to help! Surely he could have found a few drops of brandy for Annette’s baby somewhere.”
“That is true, Sannie, but God expects you to forgive him. He’ll not forgive our individual sins if we bear grudges against someone else. Worse yet, such feelings, if not repented, could cause Him to turn away from our people and our cause.””
A Ghost and His Gold
After Tom and Michelle Cleveland move into their recently built, modern townhouse, their housewarming party is disrupted when a drunken game with an Ouija board goes wrong and summonses a sinister poltergeist, Estelle, who died in 1904.
Estelle makes her presence known in a series of terrifying events, culminating in her attacking Tom in his sleep with a knife. But, Estelle isn’t alone. Who are the shadows lurking in the background – one in an old-fashioned slouch hat and the other, a soldier, carrying a rifle?
After discovering their house has been built on the site of one of the original farms in Irene, Michelle becomes convinced that the answer to her horrifying visions lies in the past. She must unravel the stories of the three phantoms’ lives, and the circumstances surrounding their untimely deaths during the Second Anglo Boer War, in order to understand how they are tied together and why they are trapped in the world of ghosts between life and death. As the reasons behind Estelle’s malevolent behaviour towards Tom unfold, Michelle’s marriage comes under severe pressure and both their lives are threatened.
Through the Nethergate
Margaret, a girl born with second sight, has the unique ability to bring ghosts trapped between Heaven and Hell back to life. When her parents die suddenly, she goes to live with her beloved grandfather, but the cellar of her grandfather’s ancient inn is haunted by an evil spirit of its own.
In the town of Bungay, a black dog wanders the streets, enslaving the ghosts of those who have died unnatural deaths. When Margaret arrives, these phantoms congregate at the inn, hoping she can free them from the clutches of Hugh Bigod, the 12th century ghost who has drawn them away from Heaven’s White Light in his canine guise.
With the help of her grandfather and the spirits she has befriended, Margaret sets out to defeat Hugh Bigod, only to discover he wants to use her for his own ends – to take over Hell itself.
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Purchase Roberta Eaton Cheadle’s books
TSL Books (paperback)
A Ghost and His Gold: https://www.lulu.com/en/us/shop/robert-eaton-cheadle/a-ghost-and-his-gold/ebook/product-d858km.html?page=1&pageSize=4
Through the Nethergate: https://www.lulu.com/en/us/shop/roberta-eaton-cheadle/through-the-nethergate/ebook/product-1qkz92jq.html?page=1&pageSize=4
Robbie is a fully-engaged blogger, and a valued part of our wider blogging community. She also writes in many different genres and themes, with something that will appeal to everyone. Please follow the links to find out more about her, read her posts, and perhaps buy some of her books too.